Date: September 14, 2013
Distance: 2 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 131 feet
Our Hiking Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes round trip
Trail Blaze: None – follow the signs!
We have been steadily trying out new local hikes, and Goldsmith Woodlands is my new favorite! It’s gorgeous – after just a few minutes of hiking into this 170 acres of tall pines, you feel like you’re lost in the wilderness of New Hampshire.
In addition to our friends, Janet and Greg (and their two kids, Elizabeth and Joshua), Kendra’s parents, Jane and Boris, joined us as well. We were quite the motley crew with two little ones walking and three in carriers. At just three and a half weeks old, this was the twins’ first hike. We used our Ergo carriers with the infant inserts. I carried Evan, while Boris carried Kate.
Though there are many trails running through the Goldsmith Woodlands, we opted to follow Zack’s Way until we reached Zack’s Hop Pit and the bank of Foster’s Pond. The wide, even trails – perfect for toddler legs – are all clearly marked with brown and gold wooden signs.
The girls loved running along the pine-needle carpeted trails, exploring the ferns and searching for frogs at the pond. With so much to see, there is no doubt we will be back here soon for another hike.
In addition to being a beautiful place to explore, Goldsmith Woodlands has an interesting history. There is evidence of a former Native American encampment, and Foster’s Pond was named after a family in which two of the women were accused of being witches during the 17th century. According to the A.V.I.S website,
An 1830 map shows the Goldsmith family as owners of the woodlands. During the early 20th century, Goldsmith Woodlands were a favorite summer retreat. Bessie Goldsmith collected rent from those who had cottages on her land. Cellar holes and swing hinges on trees are still visible. One of these cottages belonged to Zack, a caretaker of these woods and a handyman for the summer residents. His name lives on in the designation of Zack’s Way, Zack’s house and Zack’s hop pit.
It’s easy to understand how these woodlands were a summer haven. The tall pines provide an unbelievable canopy, while the sounds of nearby highways and civilization are seemingly unable to penetrate the reservation. It is truly a hidden gem.
You can download a copy of the trail map here. However, even better, buy a copy of the Andover Trails Guide. It has great information and maps for local trails, reservations, and conservation lands in and around Andover, MA.
Available in local stores (I bought mine at ACE Hardware), copies of the guidebook can also be purchased by mail. Send a check for $14.95 plus $0.50 shipping & handling to:
Andover Trails Committee
c/o David Bunting
3 Wagon Wheel Road
Andover, MA 01810
Directions to the trailhead:
The parking area for Goldsmith Reservation is located at 491 S. Main Street, Andover, MA 01810.
From I-93: Take exit 41, follow 125 north (toward Andover), for 2.3 miles and take the exit for MA-28N/S Main Street. In .7 miles, the parking area is on the left.
From 495: Take exit 41A for MA-28S/N Main Street. In 5.3 miles, the parking area is on the right.